Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and Tanf Extension Act of 2013by Former Representative Dave Camp
Posted on 2013-03-13
CAMP. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 107, I call up
the bill (H.R. 890) to prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the
work requirements for the program of block grants to States for
temporary assistance for needy families, and for other purposes, and
ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 107, an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of Rules Committee Print 113-3 shall be considered as adopted and the bill, as amended, shall be considered as read.
The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows: H.R. 890 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and TANF Extension Act of 2013''.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON TANF WAIVERS RELATING TO COMPLIANCE WITH THE TANF WORK REQUIREMENTS.
(a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may not do the following: (1) Finalize, implement, enforce, or otherwise take any action to give effect to the Information Memorandum dated July 12, 2012 (Transmittal No. TANF-ACF-IM-2012-03), or to any administrative action relating to the same subject matter set forth in the Information Memorandum or that reflects the same or similar policies as those set forth in the Information Memorandum.
(2) Authorize, approve, renew, modify, or extend any experimental, pilot, or demonstration project under section 1115 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315) that waives compliance with a requirement of section 407 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 607) through a waiver of section 402 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 602) or that provides authority for an expenditure which would not otherwise be an allowable use of funds under a State program funded under part A of title IV of such Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) with respect to compliance with the work requirements in section 407 of such Act to be regarded as an allowable use of funds under that program for any period.
(b) Rescission of Waivers.--Any waiver relating to the subject matter set forth in the Information Memorandum or described in subsection (a)(2) that is granted before the date of the enactment of this Act is hereby rescinded and shall be null and void.
SEC. 3. EXTENSION OF THE TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES PROGRAM AND RELATED PROGRAMS THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Activities authorized by part A of title IV and section 1108(b) of the Social Security Act (other than under section 403(b) of such Act) shall continue through December 31, 2013, in the manner authorized for fiscal year 2012, and out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are hereby appropriated such sums as may be necessary for such purpose. Grants and payments may be made pursuant to this authority on a quarterly basis through the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 at the level provided for such activities for the corresponding quarter of fiscal year 2012.
SEC. 4. BUDGETARY EFFECTS.
The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled ``Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation'' for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin) each will control 30 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp).
General Leave Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on H.R. 890.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan? There was no objection.
Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 890, Preserving the Welfare Work Requirement and TANF Extension Act of 2013.
In July of last year, the Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services issued an information memorandum saying they would accept and approve applications from States seeking to waive the requirement that 50 percent of their welfare caseload be engaged in or preparing for work.
This work requirement was a critical part of the 1996 welfare reforms that created the current Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, cash welfare program. Those reforms also led to more work, more earnings, less welfare dependence, and less poverty among families headed by low-income single mothers.
Yet, without any thought of consulting Congress, as is required by law, the administration saw fit to unilaterally waive the work requirements and risk the progress that has been made in the last 16 years. And that's why we are considering this legislation here on the floor today.
Simply put, this bill would block waivers, so HHS can't allow States to bypass the work requirements and financial penalties Congress put in place in 1996 for failing to engage welfare recipients in work.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle will argue that Republicans are making a big deal out of nothing and that we're responding to a problem [[Page H1374]] that doesn't exist since no States have applied for waivers--yet. But the American people have made their views clear. A survey last year revealed 83 percent support a work requirement as a condition for receiving welfare.
Clearly, the best way out of poverty is a job, and it's critical that our laws both foster job creation as well as ensure welfare is always a pathway to work. That's what this legislation is about: ensuring that work and other productive activities remain a central part of the TANF cash welfare program, as the 1996 reforms intended.
Setting aside the success of the work requirement in moving low- income individuals from welfare to work and the overwhelming support the policy enjoys among the American people, current law prohibits the administration from waiving the welfare work requirement. Waivers of certain State report requirements are permitted under the TANF program, but the work requirement may not be waived.
A summary of the 1996 reforms prepared by Ways and Means Committee staff immediately following the law's enactment could not be clearer on this point. It plainly states: Waivers granted after the date of enactment may not override provisions of the TANF law that concern mandatory work requirements.
As a Member of Congress who helped write the welfare reform law and served as a conferee on the bill, the statement in this report actually captures the correct intent of Congress.
Historical precedent is not on the Obama administration's side, either. No prior administration, Republican or Democrat, has ever attempted to waive the work requirements in the 16 years between the law's enactment and the July 2012 information memorandum.
Following the July 2012 action, the Government Accountability Office looked into this and ``did not find any evidence that HHS stated it has authority to issue waivers related to TANF work requirements.'' In short, no administration attempted to waive the work requirements because they knew it was illegal to do so.
Finally, if we need more evidence that, despite their promises to the contrary, the administration's policy would weaken the work requirement, we need look no further than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This legislation saves $61 million over 10 years because CBO recognizes the administration's waivers will allow some States that may otherwise pay penalties for failing to meet the work requirement to avoid such penalties through a waiver.
In addition to preventing the administration from waiving the work requirement, the legislation before us extends the TANF program's authorization at current funding levels through the remainder of this calendar year.
The TANF program provides helpful assistance to individuals most in need of a safety net as they look and prepare for work. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Committee on Education and the Workforce, Washington, DC, March 8, 2013.
Hon. Dave Camp, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to confirm our mutual understanding with respect to the consideration of H.R. 890, the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013. Thank you for consulting with the Committee on Education and the Workforce with regard to H.R. 890 on those matters within the committee's jurisdiction.
In the interest of expediting the House's consideration of H.R. 890, the Committee on Education and the Workforce will forgo further consideration on this bill. However, I do so with the understanding that this procedural route will not be construed to prejudice the committee's jurisdictional interest and prerogatives on this bill or any other similar legislation and will not be considered as precedent for consideration of matters of jurisdictional interest to my committee in the future.
I respectfully request your support for the appointment of outside conferees from the Committee on Education and the Workforce should this bill or a similar bill be considered in a conference with the Senate. I also request that you include our exchange of letters on this matter in the Congressional Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor. Thank you for your attention to these matters.
Sincerely, John Kline, Chairman.
____ Committee on Ways and Means, Washington, DC, March 12, 2013.
Hon. John Kline, Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce, Washington, DC.
Dear Chairman Kline, Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 890, the ``Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013,'' which is expected to be considered on the floor this week.
I appreciate your willingness to forgo action on H.R. 890. I agree that your decision should not prejudice the Committee on Education and the Workforce with respect to the appointment of conferees or its jurisdictional prerogatives on this or similar legislation.
I will include a copy of your letter and this response in the Congressional Record during consideration of H.R. 890 on the House Floor.
Sincerely, Dave Camp, Chairman.